A year ago today my heart felt heavy. I didn’t want to get up in the mornings, go to work, or do much of anything really. I felt exhausted, bullied at work, depressed over a deep loss of a loved one (and the loved ones that had passed before), isolated, unhealthy, and I felt stuck in a downward spiral. I hadn’t “made it” yet as a photographer and business owner. I was so unhappy and I did not know how to change it.
I realized that I had to make some pretty serious changes very soon if I ever wanted to create the kind of life I wanted to live. My business is named after my life’s manifesto, “live lovely.” I had somehow lost my way from that manifesto. I wasn’t living it then and I needed to follow my own advice.
So I made plans and took action; I found a part-time job that gave me time to work on my own business, quit the toxic job, moved to a much smaller studio apartment, adopted simple living and healthier habits, planned to travel more, and simply decided to live lovely right now. 2017 was also the year I started to blog. I had planned to share my process as I went, but I ended up having to simply live it first. I had to learn it before I could share it or even try to teach it. I spent the whole year living my live lovely manifesto and it worked for me. Now, in 2018, I want to share the journey with you as I continue to make steps into living a lovelier life.
In 2017 I focused on making my life better. I created the project “A Year of Living Lovely” for myself with twelve monthly goals. I made each goal something simple,. but very important, reaching every aspect of my life.
January: Make home sweet
February: Use money wisely
March: Have a happy career
April: Make mornings count
May: Love is life -Your support network
June: Energize & Exercise
August: Nourish -Body and soul
September: Always be learning
October: Maintain Relationships
November: Make others happy (Thankfulness November)
December: Rest and Imagine
In 2018 I will be creating mini guides and posts about each of these monthly goals and what they mean, where you can follow along with me as I make 2018 the best year yet.
Each month I focused on that one big goal as well as mini goals to help me achieve daily happiness, simple living, and meet my business goals. In 2018 I will be redoing the process and elaborating on those goals, as they were so helpful to me this year. I know better than most how easy it is to believe that everything in someone’s life looks perfect online. As a photographer, we focus on only taking pictures of beautiful moments. Not that those are not real, but they’re not the entire picture. In all of my photos from 2016 I appear happy, but looking at those photos compared to the photos from this year, it is easy to see how tired I really was.
In those images, you can’t see the mornings where I could hardly get out of bed, the anxiety I faced at work, or my sadness for certain events in my life. I feel like I looked older last year. 2017 has put a smile on my face, a genuine one. This past year in photos I look genuinely happy because I truly am. It took a while, but I did it. Life is not perfect and it is not always blue skies, but life does get better when we take the steps to make it so. Life truly is lovely. Because of my Year of Living Lovely, I traveled more. I explored, tried new things, and learned new things. It helped me to adopt a healthier lifestyle. And as a result, I spent more time with the people that matter most. I had fun.I laughed. And I worked on my goals and myself. Along the way I found myself again and my direction. And I found pure joy. I danced. I even flew a plane. I chased many of my dreams from flying a plane to climbing to the top of Lady Liberty in New York City and watching the Macy’s Day Parade in person, all because I decided that now was the time, not a “later” that might never come. If anything, last year taught me that life truly is too short. It is too short to feel stuck, to not chase your dreams, to stay in a toxic environment, to waste on material stuff, and to keep unhealthy habits. In 2017 I created my Year of Living Lovely and in 2018 I would like you to join me as I continue the journey. One year I would like to create a project, but 2018 is going to be a big year for me as I am getting married and my business is growing. I will be making posts every month to further pursue my monthly goals and I hope that you are inspired to join me every month in making changes both big and small into living your loveliest life. Please join me for A Year of Living Lovely starting January 1st, 2018.
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